Cushman Powerhouse No. 2. Photo by Bruce Ecker
One of the first major dams in the Pacific Northwest was Tacoma Power's Cushman Dam No. 1, dedicated in 1926, when President Calvin Coolidge pressed a button in the White House to energize the project. The dam is on the North Fork of the Skokomish River near Hood Canal. It is 275 feet high and 1,111 feet long. Lake Cushman has a 23-mile shoreline.
Just downstream, Cushman Dam No. 2 was completed in 1930, forming the small 150-acre Kokanee Lake. This dam measures 235 feet above bedrock and is 575 feet in length.
The powerhouse for Cushman No. 2 sits several miles below the dam, overlooking scenic Hood Canal along U.S. Highway 101, and attracts hundreds of visitors every year.
Electricity moves from the Cushman Hydro Project to Tacoma on a 40-mile-long transmission line. Construction of the Tacoma Narrows transmission line crossing was a notable engineering achievement of the time. Stretching more than a mile and a quarter between towers in Tacoma and Gig Harbor, the power lines were the longest single span in the world.
Cushman Dam No. 1
A long-term license
After waiting more than 36 years, Tacoma Power received an acceptable long-term license to operate the Cushman Hydroelectric Project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order on July 15, 2010 that amended a license issued in 1998 to include the terms of the settlement agreement that Tacoma Power and other government agencies signed with the Skokomish Tribal Nation in January 2009.
The license allows Tacoma Power to operate the Cushman Hydroelectric Project until 2048.
On Jan. 12, 2009, Tacoma Power, the Skokomish Tribal Nation and state and federal agencies signed a settlement agreement that resolved a $5.8 billion damages claim and long-standing disputes over the terms of a long-term license for Cushman Hydroelectric Project.
View summaries and frequently-asked questions about topics related to Cushman Hydroelectric Project operations:
Take a Tour
A popular community service at the Cushman Hydro Project is free group tours. Tours are available by appointment to school, civic, business and recreational groups during regular working hours. To make arrangements for a tour, call Tacoma Power at (253) 502-8759.
Groups taking tours of the Cushman dams and powerhouses meet at the Cushman Powerhouse No. 2, located on Highway 101 near the town of Potlatch, south of Hoodsport.